Thursday, January 20, 2011

Exploring Technologies for School Use

My philosophy in life is go with the "tried and true". That way you know what results you can expect. Now, you might argue that this makes things boring...but I say "better safe than sorry". So I  definitely would not go for some brand new, cutting-edge, elective, cosmetic surgery....unless it was tested and done on millions. Who knows how many things can go wrong....and it's your looks and life on the line. So why risk it.

That said, experimenting with new stuff, say a new recipe for Pâte à Choux (cream puff pastry), will certainly improve your life. I mean, what's the worst thing that can happen....the puff pastry collapses and the cream is watery. So you and your family/friends will have a good laugh at your attempt at fine cuisine, and you'll run to Krispy Kreme and pick up some doughnuts. Of course, if your recipe will be the the new pastry queen. So in this "kitchen scenario", the "risk" is worth it.

To bring this balanced approach to education technology, I would suggest that schools implement new methods that have proven track records. Student Information Systems are ubiquitous these days...but integration software for all the different systems schools use are less so. However, as there are many great tech integrators out there, schools should look for ways to integrate all their data systems. This will help reduce redundant data entry and streamline many aspects of school admin. The risk here is negligible, but the upside is a modern, streamlined school data system.

Things like scheduling parent teacher conferences can be a huge task for K-12 administrators, teachers...and even parents. Here too, there are many proven  and reliable options. So trying out software companies like PTC Wizard who offer affordable solutions for parent-teacher conference scheduling, is no big deal.

On the other hand, bringing wireless technology into the classroom or offering students the option of taking courses online, should be researched very carefully. It's not clear if these methods will pay off, or just wreak havoc in the classroom. More time and feedback is needed before schools jump into these new educational techniques.

As always, common sense and patience are the best tools for evaluating the "new".

For now, I will be checking out how iPhones are now able to control other stay tuned.

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